tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 26, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
primary. our coverage of america's choice, 2012, continues right now. >> and wolf, thanks very much. good evening. it's 10:00 p.m. on the east coast. those of you just tuning in, welcome to a special edition of "360" live where the four remaining presidential candidates have wrapped up their debate. two of them, newt gingrich and mitt romney, traded verbal punches all night. romney has a new debate, did it make a difference? you can decide for yourself in the hour ahead. the most key moments we'll pay for you. gingrich took another shot at the media. we'll see how that was received. this is the finedle bait before florida republicans vote next week. wolf blitzer was in the middle of it. we're going to talk with wolf coming up shortly.
gloria borger is standing by with david gergen, donna brazile, and ari fleischer. >> governor romney, what kind of debate did you think you had tonight? >> i thought it was terrific, and i was delighted with the debate. it was a big night for me and for the people who support me. you saw the response of the audience. it's a big step forward and it's going to give me the boost i need going into the last couple days before the primary. >> you were pretty aggressive, i couldn't help but notice, in taking on newt gingrich. you seemed to turn every attack he made on you into an attack on him. particularly the attacks he made on the campaign trail about your finances. >> when i'm shot at, i'll return fire. i'm no shrinking violet. thanks. >> back to you, anderson. >> it certainly was perhaps a more energized mitt romney than we have seen in privious deba s debates. earlier this week in florida, he appeared to be energized.
he has a new debate coach. how much of a role that played, unclear. he and speaker gingrich went back and forth on a number of issues. immigration, what was said in various campaign commercials, taxes, investments, and the like. a lot to talk about. we have a full panel who are joining us. let's check in with david gergen who is in the hall. what did you make of the debate? >> anderson, fascinating debate. very exciting. a lot of people are pleased about it. i don't think there was a clear winner tonight. if anything, the surprise may have been how well rick santorum did. he was unusually strong. second straight debate for him, but here is the point. i think that if the momentum has shifted as the polls suggest, and it seems to be true, then you have to say that newt gingrich needed a knockout punch tonight. he needed to reverse the moment momentum. he did not get that. i believe that for mitt romney's end, this was a good night. a night he can come out of here and say, i held my own against
him. we went mano a mano. i did well tonight. different from south carolina. the romney people should be happy tonight coming out of this. they may be close to securing florida, and if they secure florida, they're much closer to the nomination. >> i'm joined by wolf blitzer. you did an excellent job, as always. what did you make of the debate? what stood out to you? >> they all were on their game. they did a good job. ron paul, we know where he stands on so many of the issues. he was predict blgable, strong, good. the exchanges, especially at the beginning between gingrich and romney, were pretty tough, serious. there were differences between the two individuals. santorum did himself some favors today. a lot of people if you look at the polls have been writing him off, but maybe he'll get a bounce. >> he felt tonight was crucial that he get the message across. i want to bring in ari fleischer. from the republican side, how did you see it toonchlt? >> this was a great night for mitt romney. mitt romney showed an aggressive
side i haven't seen in him bfl. he took it to newt gingrich on several occasions. he did it in a cool manner, showing a bit of an alpha dog manner. and newt didn't have the commanding night he had in south carolina. and that hurt him because for him to close the gap here in florida, a close race, he needed another big, good night. rick santorum was strong. you have to give credit to rick santorum, and ron paul was funny. he had the best lines of the night. >> john king is with former senator santorum. >> i'm with santorum and his mother who is now famous in social media. good to see you. you introduced your mom at the beginning of the meeting, all over twitterverse. no way you're 93 years young. >> ari fleischer was talking, senator, that you had a strong performance. the last couple debates, you got great revies. the question sometimes comes down to resources. in a state like florida, you
decided not to run tv ads, you decided not to stay here friday night because you're looking ahead. is this a missed opportunity? >> i have been here, i was the first person down here in florida. i have been here many, many times before the past week. i'm here really through monday, and i found in the last two elections in new hampshire and south carolina, they're wasted days because you can't compain, so our feeling was, let's take off. we have nevada just four days later, and we want to head up to nevada and start working out there. >> you have been very consistent criticizing romney and gingrich on the mandate for health care. romney, i believe, had a strong debate performance tonight. but the one time you seemed to be on defense was when you kept after him. he was defending his mandate, he said at one point, it's not anything to get angry about. >> don't confusion passion with anger. i'm passionate about this because people in this country don't want a government that can force them to engage in commercial activity much less force them to do a whole host of
other things like the cap and trade proposal he had come is going to drive up utility costs or the wall street bailout that taxpayers are paying hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out wall street while people here suffer. the idea that romney things i'm angry, i think a lot of people are angry when they say the government is going to force them to by insurance as a resident of the state. >> i know it's a horse race question, but as the race goes on, they say where does rick santorum get a break. you won iowa. you have to win somewhere, where does it come. >> >> this is proportional. and proportional allocation of delegates in most of the states coming up. and we're running strong campaigns. in several states, we have the resources. we have raised over twice as much money in the last three weeks as we did in the last nine month. we have the resources to spread our wings and we're going to engage in the campaign. as we have seen here tonight, a
lot of baggage, a lot of problems with intwo co-front runners. we're going to start moving up again. our time will come. >> i'm going to let you spend time with your most loyal florida voter. i agree with what everyone is saying. there's no way you're 93 years young. not happening, not at all. take care tonight. anderson, back to you. >> i want to check in with eric erickson. you have not been a fan of governor romney and his campaign. how did you think he did and how did you think newt gingrich did? >> they did badly. romney got the better of newt over all. the winners were santorum and paul. largely because they stayed out of the fray. the pej lnt of the runners allowed santorum and paul to shine. so many questions, to wolf's credit, were on domestic policy issue and issues related to florida, instead of domestic issues. rick santorum had the best night of any of the candidates on the
stage. >> donna brazile, it seems like this race is going to continue beyond florida. >> oh, there's no question, anderson. florida is very important for republicans. this is the last contest before the all-important debates. there are a couple places, but mitt romney knew he had to come in, he had to look newt gingrich in the eye and stare him down. he did very well, but santorum probably did himself good tonight by, you know, not only standing his ground but taking his fight to both romney as well as newt gingrich. newt gingrich was flat tonight, but he's not out of it. he still has a lot of head wind going into the important florida primary next week. >> wolf blitzer in the exchange with gingrich, went back and forth on the appropriateness of the question. i want to show the exchange to our viewers. >> earlier this week, you said
governor romney, after he released his taxes, you said you were satisfied with the level of transparency of his personal finance s i want to reirate and ask you, are you satisfied with the level of transparency with his personal finances. >> we have a great relationship, we have gone back a long way. i'm with him. this is a nonsense question. how about if the four of us agree for the rest of the evening -- >> you made an issue of this this week when you said that he lives in a world of swiss bank and cayman island bank accounts. i didn't say that. you did. >> i did. i'm perfectly happy to say that on some tv show, but you have a chance -- >> you make a serious accusation against governor romney like that, you need to explain that. >> you want to try again.
i mean -- >> wouldn't it be nice if people didn't make accusations that they weren't willing to defend here. >> a really interesting exchange. it contributes to the idea that a lot of people felt newt gingrich was flat tonight. >> you know, he was the one who raised the issue of the cayman islands, the swiss bank account. he made a serious allegation against romney. i thought it would be a great opportunity to clarify, explain what he meant about it. he didn't want to talk about it. when i finally pressed him, he responded. >> there have been a number of allegations on the campaign trail that showed up. ari fliethser, there was a campaign commercial that mitt romney is running in which he said that newt gingrich said spanish is the language of the ghetto. he didn't say that word for word. he implied it sefrveral years a. what did you think of that exchange?
>> on so many exchanges, mitt romney was taking it to newt, but that one was confusion. most viewers,nenti unless they' fact checkers, they got lost on that one. >> we have a lot to talk about in the hour ahead. we're going to take a quick break. let us know what you think on facebook, google plus, follow us on twitter. up next, a roundtable on the key moments of tonight. we'll replay the key moments, the ones voters may base their decisions on. also, key moments when gingrich and romney traded direct attacks over the advertising war each is waging, and the war that big-named republicans waged today to stop newt gingrich. we'll talk about that ahead.
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[ male announcer ] red lobster's four course seafood feast is back. get soup, salad, cheddar bay biscuits, dessert and choose one of 7 entrees. four courses for only $15. offer ends soon. i'm jody gonzalez, red lobster manager and i sea food differently. we're back in jacksonville, florida. what a really exciting debate you have just witnessed. moments after the debate, days before the crucial florida primary. we're going to check in with our full panel shortly. i want to show you some of the key moment from this evening in case you missed them. plenty for voters to consider. take a look. >> ladies and gentlemen, the republican candidates for president of the united states.
>> i'm here with a north florida resident who lived down the beach from jacksonville, my mom, who is 93 years old, is with me tonight. >> i thin we spend way too much time worrying about the border between afghanistan and pakistan. use some of those resources on our own border. >> is he still the most anti-immigrant candidate? >> of the four of us, yes. >> i'm not anti-immigrant. my father was born in mexico, my wife's father was born in wales. they came to this country. the idea that i'm anti-immigrant is repulsive. >> i want the grandmother to have some right for residency but not citizenship so he or she contributes their life with dignity within the law. >> there are not 11 million -- our problem is not 11 million grandmother. our problem is -- [ applause ] >> governor romney always shares
of fannie mae and freddie mac. he made millions off selling that. he has had investment of goldman sachs which is closing on floridians. >> have you checked your own investments yorb also have investments in fannie mae and freddie mac. >> they both made money from fanny and freddie. should they return that money? >> that subject doesn't interest me a whole lot. >> the bigger issue here is these two gentlemen who are out distracting by the most important issues we have by playing petty politics. can we set aside that newt was a member of congress and used the skills he developed as a member of congress to advise company, and mitt romney is a guy who is wealthy because he worked hard. you need to loov that alone and focus on the issues. >> how about if the four of us
agree for the rest of the evening to talk about issues that relate to america. >> you said he lives in a world of swiss bank and cayman island bank accounts. i didn't say that, you did. >> let's put behind this idea of attacking me because of my investments or my money and say what you accomplished in your lifetient be seen as a detriment but an asset. >> i'll challenge any of these guys to a 25-mile bike ride in the heat of texas. >> i don't want to be the country that got to the moon first, turn around and say it doesn't matter. let the chinese dominate space, what do we care? >> this idea of going state to state and promising what people want to hear, promising hundreds of billions of dollars to make them happy got us into the trouble we're in now. we have to say no to this spending.
>> what he said is factually incorrect. your mandate is no different from barack obama's man dade. it's the same mandate. you take over 100% like he takes over 100%. required the same fines you put in place in massachusetts, fines he put in place on the federal level. >> there's no doubt about it, the stakes were high, the pressure was intense. we'll bring you more key moments throughout the hour, throughout the night, talking about what they add up to. john king, also political analyst gloria borger, david gergen, donna brazile, ari fleischer, and eric erickson joins us by remote. ari, it surprised me that newt gingrich, who has been lobbying these attacks against governor romney in his investments in fannie mae and freddie mac seemed unaware or unprepared for him to say, you know what, you have invested in them, too.
>> when you look at opposition research and having a campaign structure underneat you, romney has a big one, and newt is newt. he has his own coverage. he doesn't have many people helping him. i think that was a surprise. it took him by surprise. that's what i meant about romney had a good night, stepping up his game, going after newt. jab, jab, jab. newt throws haymakers and he didn't get a chance to connect on his haymakers tonight. he was flat. >> and romney demanded an apology from newt gingrich for the language he used calling him anti-immigration, saying it was repulsive. we haven't heard that out of mitt romney. this is mitt romney taking it to newt gingrich. >> he knew that tonight was critical. >> everybody knew that tonight was critical. the person who won the debate tonight was likely to win the primary. this is newt's last chance. that moment on the taxes was, i think, symbolic of the whole evening. he threw his punch, he thought he it a really solid point, and
romney was ready for him and surprised him. i think that was right, and then santorum said would you stop being trivial and go after each other, and he looked bigger and he looked good. >> he's had several strong performances in a row. does he have the resources and the psychology of the race to do that. we'll see if he can do this further on. i think governor romney was more assertive. on the immigration answer, he went after gingrich and at the same time, he softened his position, we're not going to throw grandmother out of the country. and he was less defensive about his wealth. his staff has been pushing it for month. he's private, doesn't like to talk about it. was much less defensive, tried to turn it to his advantage. i made a lot of money, i paid my taxes, yes, i did. what's the issue, mr. speaker. >> we have the clip about the grandmother. >> i'm not going to go find grandmothers and take them out of their homes and deport them.
thoetz are your words, not my words. to use that rhetoric suggests to people somehow if you're not willing to keep people here who violated the law, you're anti-imgrnlt. nothing could be further from the truth. i'm pro-immigrant. >> you accept the fact a family is going to take care of their grandmother. the fact you're going to push them out by saying they can't get a job, i think the grandmother is going to be here. all i want to do here is let her be there illegally. >> the problem isn't 11 million grandmothers. all right? >> that line got a huge applause in this auditorium. eric erickson, to john's point about rick santorum, though he clearly had a strong night on the stage and received a lot of applause on the stage for some of his lines, does he have the staying power. clearly his strategy would be that newt gingrich would implode and he would go against romney. is that a strategy that is still
viable? >> i don't know that it is, he got a big endorsement from evangelicals, and it didn't do him good. i wouldn't be surprised if there's some effort to keep him in to keep hurting gingricgingr. on the other issue, anderson, on the question tonight on immigration, i have to say that i thought that gingrich and romney hurt each other in the debate, but in that moment with wolf blitzer that you came where gingrich all of a sudden, all these things blowing up in his face, let's stop. and he went after wolf, and suddenly, because of romney's response, he got the better of him, the crowd turned on gingrich. you live by the debate, die by the debate. i think gingrich lost florida because of it. >> you wanted crowd response. you got crowd response tonight. >> romney goded newt gingrich into answering these questions and getting more involved because you know, as eric pointed out, gingrich said, okay, let's just stop this, and romney turned on him and said,
you know what, you ought to be able to answer on the stage what you have been saying at your rallies about me, to my face. >> there were two debates this week, and newt gingrich had an opportunity with all of the momentum coming out of south carolina to put romney on the defensive, on his money, taxes, on his stance on immigration, but he decided to hold back, and that hurt him. santorum was clever. he was strong. he managed to combine the anti-mitt, the liberal health care with the anti-newt, the washington insider, so overall, he had a great night. but you know what, conservatives want electability, somebody who can beat obama. can santorum rise strong enough to beat the top tier candidates. >> i thought there was two debates in a different sense in that romney was going against gingrich, and he got the better end of that. indirectly, this was also starting a debate with barack obama. i thought on that issue, donna, i'm cure yious about your view,t
i don't think he came across so well. tllz rr a likability question about him as time goes on that he has to face up to. i'm not sure he's somebody people really want in their living rooms a lot. >> but his wife was fabulous. >> near term, i think he helped himself, but on the longer term questions -- >> the point is very well taken, but the point is you can see now in governor romney, if we go back six months, he wasn't worried about the near term. another interesting point, when he criticized gingrich on space, he's trying to take away the tea party vote. they're not sure if they can afford this, and he's getting tanked. the only mistake i think governor romney made, when he turned to senator santorum and said it's not worth getting angry about. a lot of tea party voters are angry. >> romney used something that gingrich had done very successfully in past primaries which is talk about local issues.
we saw that in south carolina where he talked about the port. romney or santorum used it gents him saying he's going state by state. >> we have to take a quick break, ari fleischer, the entire panel when we come back. we'll be right back. forty years ago, he wasn't looking for financial advice. back then he had something more important to do. he wasn't focused on his future. but fortunately, somebody else was. at usaa we provide retirement planning for our military, veterans and their families. now more than ever, it's important to get financial advice from people who share your military values. for our free usaa retirement guide, call 877-242-usaa. and here's what we did today:
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calling romney the most anti-immigrant candidate. >> is he still the most anti-immigrant? >> i think so. >> senator rubio came to my defense. i'm not anti-imgrnlt. my father was born in mexico. my wife's father was born in wales, they came to this country. i'm glak that marco rubio caledd you out on it, i think you should apologize for it. >> romney is running a spanish ad of his own accusing gingrich of calling spanish the language of the ghetto. he didn't mention spanish by nade name. romney said he wasn't aware of the ad, his own ad. a few minutes later, wolf set the record straight. >> we did double check, that governor we talked about where i quoted you as saying gingrich called spanish the language of
the ghetto. it is one of your ads. it's running here on florida and in the radio, and at the end, you say i'm mitt romney and i approve this ad. >> let me ask a question. >> he asked whether or not gingrich in fact did say that and said we should check the record. we did. john, gloria, david, ari, donna, and eric. >> he was caught. it is a spanish language radio. this is the first big diverse state. the latino vote matters. they had harsh spanish language. most done on the radio. romney got caught, wolf corrected the ad. he could have said, okay. he brought gingrich in and said, did you say it? he defended it, and even though gingrich didn't say spanish dpaesh. >> he was implying spanish. >> but there's a certain degree to which romney needs to start
taking responsibility as opposed to saying my investment guy did it, i had a blind trust. my pac did this, i had no responsibility for that. somebody else did that, i didn't know. at some point, people expect you to take personal responsibility. >> and on that one, when you don't know what the ad says, you don't know what the ad says. >> it does have him saying i'm mitt romney and i approve the ad. >> we know that the ads get produced. >> when he said my trustee, that stuck out at me. how many people have trustees. >> blind trust, while you're at it. >> he said he never voted for a democrat, when he has. he has, he voted for the late paul tsonga. >> when a republican was on the ballot. >> i believe that we're going to
find out tomorrow morning that mitt romney did not come forth and tell on immigration and you know, two weeks ago, in iowa, he was against, you know, he had a different policy. tonight, i'm sitting here looking at all of the things he said. i'm like, immigration, on never voting for a democrat, on his taxes, his money. democrats are going to have a hay day tomorrow fact checking mitt romney. >> did you agree about some of the things that were said? >> i do. back to david and ari's exchange, i think we're in politics. we know that candidates, they send out a lot of ads on the campaign. the candidates don't all seem them. when the public sees the ad and hears i'm mitt romney and i approve the message or whoever, they connect it to the candidate. when he's there tonight and says that he didn't know about the ad even though it ended with i approve the message, it makes you wonder, he's running on his management skills as a ceo. at the same time, that was his
weakest moment of the night. gingrich's moments that were unique were historic. >> there has been a fascinating war of words from other surrogates in the last couple days. when we come back, we want to talk about establishment republicans, basically sort of stop gingrich movement against establishment republicans. their effort to head off the gop meltdown if gingrich wins florida. that's from a gop observer. we'll explain ahead. while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier.
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it's increasingly interesting to watch the romney attack machine coordinate, and all of a sudden today, there are four different articles from four different people that randomly show up. those of us in the trenches fighting in the '80, it would be nice to be recognized for what we did. >> newt gingrich talking about the heat he's feeling from the right. here is what bob dole former senator in the 1996 presidential nominee and supporter of romney wrote in a statement. if gingrich is the nominee, it will have an adverse impact on republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices. hardly anyone who served with newt in congress has endorsed him, and that fact speaks for itself. and he said, mr. gingrich voted with the president regularly but
equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at reagan. gingrich was voliable and certain in predicting that reagan's policies would fail, and in all of this, he was wrong. and they said newt gingrich in retrospect shows that hry has proved wrong. is it organized? >> totally organized. >> this is what well run campaigns do. get together and you hone in on one moment and you attack. >> i was at a gingrich event today where there were republican members of congress from utah, from california, who are supporting romney. and who were there to give an availability to the press to rebutt newt gingrich at his own event. this is very organized, and this is not happenstance.
>> you can't discount also the power of the north star. sometimes there is something that unites everybody in addition to organization. that's that tonight republican candidates are going to be on the ballot in 2012 are sleeping restlessly because they fear newt gingrich at the top of the ticket, losing the house and senate and returning to the first two years of the obama administration when they had a full house and ran everything. >> you have done a lot of ads for people you worked with. what do youtrokemake of mitt romney saying i'm up aware of the ad? >> most of the time, they don't see them. we tape a disclaimer, and we put them on the ads. i paid for it, i'm mitt romney and i approve this commercial. they usually don't see the ads. >> anderson, i got an e-mail from someone in the romney campaign during the break ability the ad thing, and it says we, meaning the romney campaign, have developed 85 ads. we can't have total recall of
every one. >> fair point? >> when you go on, just as eric said, when you go on and put your name and say i approve of it, you take personal responsibility. you're still responsible. you put out a statement under your name, you can't say, my speechwriter wrote that. you're responsible at the end of the day. i want to note that alex has cleaned up his act. earlier, he said republicans all over the country were peeing in their beds. >> i was chatized by the bed wetting republican. one of the things we do teach candidates in debates like this is look for the mos, moment of strength. as a president, you never know what issue the president you pick is going to face. is he strong enough to handle them? as david said tonight, the alpha male usually wins. who had them tonight? >> when romney looked at gingrich and said do you know what is in your investments?
dramatic pause, no, you don't. that was a moment of strength. that seemed to set gingrich back tonight. >> several of them, and also stylistically, one thing i noticed when mitt romney takes you on, he looks at you. when newt goes after people, he never looks them in the eye. it's disconcerning for viewers because it doesn't convey strength. i believe it so much, i'm going to look at you and say it. >> let's play the moment alex talked about, for those who didn't see it, talking about newt gingrich's investments. >> we discovered to our shock, governor romney adds shares of fannie mae and freddie mac. he made a million dollars off selling some of that. maybe governor romney in the spirit of openness should tell us how much money he's made off how many house 48ds that have beenfore closed. >> they have in in the blind trust, managed by a trustee. secondly, the investments we made, we learned about this as we made our disclosure, have been in mutual funds and bond.
i don't own stock in fannie mae or freddie mac. have you checked your own investme investments? you also have investments through mutual funds that also invest in fannie mae and freddie mac. >> ouch. >> he got punked. >> got punked. >> one thing we have also learn about newt gingrich is he a good debater or a prauler. a one-trick pony. he goes after the media. if that doesn't work, there isn't a reservoir of warmth there or appeal to voters. >> alex, did you say that mitt romney got a new debate coach, got someone to help him. >> a man named o'donnell. >> who was formerly with michele bachmann. a former debate coach at liberty university, and if i'm correct, and he's a pro. he's very good. >> he was very good at working
with people. to let them be themselves, to get the bist out of them. the hardest thing to do on the stage is to relax and look confident. >> i don't think romney was relaxed. >> better than he's been in the past few debates. >> i think he knew everything was on the line for him tonight. and he wasn't relaxed, but he was prepared. he had the opposition research. >> i think we saw something critical, and eric, i would like to hear your point. he really turned the whole question of his wealth back to being a strength. i mean, he is not running from it anymore, and he said that, i'm not ashamed of it. i'm not ashamed of my success. we'll play that sound. >> i have a trustee that manages my investments in a blind trust. that was so i would avoid any conflicts of interest. he indicates last week, we wanted to diversify the investments, and for money he
had money in a swiss account, full taxes paid on it, u.s. taxes. nothing wrong with that. some would try to make a deal of it, as you have publicly. i thin it's important for people to make sure that we don't castigate individuals who have been successful and try to, by innuendo, suggest there's something wrong with being successful and having investments and having a return on investments. you indicated that somehow i didn't earn the money. i didn't inherit it. i take risks, they lead to jobs in america. i'm proud of being successful. i'm proud of being in the free enterprise system that creates jobs for other people. i'm not going to run from that. i'm proud of the taxes i pay. they will be about 40% this year. let's put behind the idea of atanging me because of thigh investments or money and get republicans to say what you have accomplished in your life should
be seen as an asset to help america. >> we talked about candidates becoming stronger. i could hear him saying that to president obama in a debate. >> right. you know, there are a flb of issues that bothered me about mitt romney. this was the nagging one. he sounded so apologetic about his welt, tonight, the answer we needed to give all along. had he given it at the cnn debate in south carolina, he wouldn't have ended so far behind newt gingrich. this is the sort of answer he's going to have to give. this is going to be about a defense of the various views of capitalism between the left and right. he can't sound apologetic going into the fight, and he shined. this is a moment where a lot of people who questioned mitt romney on sounding apologetic will say, maybe he's turned the corner. >> we have to take a quick break. more with our panel, a lot more a ahead. also, another key moment from the debate that observers say
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>> it was one of the few times that governor romney got rattled. john king thought it was a key moment. why did you think it was a key moment? >> because alex makes the point he was talking about we have some differences on health care, but they're not so great. if that was the context. not so great. if you're a tea party voter and you're listening, it's not worth getting angry about. he said it's up to each state. but that's a government mandate, and i get angry about government mandates, so if you take that one sentence, there's a better way to say it. >> for years, mitt romney has touted what they did in massachusetts as a national model. tonight, he said it's up to individual states to come up with their own model. >> let's talk about rick santorum. he had a very strong night because he took it to mitt romney in health care on a way
that no other candidate has done. here is what is wrong with what you did in massachusetts. and rick santorum did that on several other occasions tonight. the problem he has is nobody thinks he's a finalist. so he's -- but he doesn't have the krezability. >> i don't know. >> after tonight, if newt gingrich has a problem with female voters, if it's beginning, we talked last woeek that it usually takes a few days after an attack that was suffered by his wife marianne. they say, is that true, can i believe that? then they look around and see how everybody is handling that. he's beginning to have a gender gap problem in florida. if he begins to dip, romney won two ways tonight. one by having a good debate, and two, by having santorum have his best debate yet. >> second place or first place
in florida. >> he's going to contend for second. >> and he'll continue. >> he's going to contend for second. i would bet you $10,000, but it's been done. >> forget about 10%, 12% of the polls. santorum said in the final days of south carolina, he was buying tv time in florida. they decided that gingrich had momentum coming out. >> how many eyeballs did santorum get tonight watching the debate. >> i also want to talk about ron paul. you wanted to make a point in. >> with santorum's exchange with mitt romney that is relevant to the prior conversation. the tea party has largely been absent in the primary season. they have been divided among candidates who weren't viablvia herman cain and others because of their lack of experience at this level, but i think the santorum exchange orhealth care and the attacks look at it like
republicans who are as much to blame. they may start to look up and look at santorum and gingrich and say we need to drag it out longer. let's rally to a candidate to make sure romney doesn't have it in the bag. that's a problem for romney. >> ron paul has not really been campaigning in florida, but he has been in the two debates and had supporters in the field, a strong performance tonight. really by staying above the fray, he had a couple good lines, kind of distancing himself from the drama between gingrich and romney. >> no question, the most likable candidates on the stage tonight was ron paul. very grandfatherly, he should have been wearing a sweater. easy to take. >> funny. >> he was funny tonight. he was able to laugh at himself. the problem is, of course, he comes to florida where cuban voters and hispanic voters are 30% of the vote in a republican primary, and he says let's do business with fidel castro.
those things are tough and place him out of the republican -- >> his line about raul castro, what did you say if you were talking to him in the white house, why are you calling? >> he was funny all night. he challenged them to a 25-mile bike ride in the texas heat. >> paul was funny. santorum really did the attacking for gingrich against romney. and was the most effective, i think, attack person. >> we have to take a break. we're going to have more about ron paul after the break and after tonight's debate, who do you predict will win florida's primary on tuesday. we'll ask the panel when we come back. g you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum ta tum tum tums
we don't have a well managed bord border, so i think we need more resources and most of the candidates would gree we need more resources. where are the resources going to come from? i have a subjects, i think we worry about the border between afghanistan and pakistan. use some of those resources on our own border. >> ron paul talking about border security and the wars in iraq and afghanistan. predictions for what is going to happen here and final thoughts for tonight. >> i'm mystified by newt gingrich and why he didn't show up. but it's interesting, before the debate, an 82% chance of romney winning the debate. after the debate, 89%. chance to win florida, 91%. >> and a wall street journal poll, it's clear from that poll that independent voters don't like what they have been seeing at the debates, and in a matchup between barack obama and newt gingrich, barack obama wins by double digits.
>> team romney is very confident, anderson. they said it was breaking their way before the debate. they believe he'll win the florida primary. it doesn't mean it's over. when newt gingrich loses, that's when he gets more aggressive. this will go on. >> i believe barack obama will eventually win florida. what do i know? i ran al gore's campaign. i can't win. >> all right. ari. >> what propelled newt in south carolina were the debate performances. in the middle of the debate, newt was going to win. tonight, you don't get the sense of surge. romney takes florida, and this is the easiest protection of them all, the giants beat the patriots. >> eric erickson. >> i think romney wins florida. if you're newt, you live by the debate and die by the debate. to gloria's point, they make it more problematic for the